24th June 2008

Promenade in Paris – Written by Tour Coordinator Debbie Catling

On my latest visit to this, my favourite city I stayed at the Mercure Hotel Porte de Versailles in the south west corner of the city near the Exhibition Halls. The hotel is excellent. Light and welcoming with lovely communal areas.

The nearest metro is a pleasant walk down a tree lined avenue with bars, cafés and restaurants. Paris of course is the epicentre of gastronomy with an endless choice of restaurants, bistros, cafés and bars in which to eat. The French have in excess of 37 different names for places to eat! For choice and value for money head to the rue Mouffetard which runs between the 5th and13th arrondissement. Made famous in the film Amélie and one of the oldest streets in Paris, the ‘Mouffe’ as it is known locally is popular with local students. Here you will find many different types of restaurant with affordable prices. Alternatively the labyrinth of tiny streets in the Latin Quarter just across the Boulevard from Notre Dame is slightly more lively and offers you choice from around the globe. Beware the Greek restaurant where smashing plates at the feet of unsuspecting tourists is the restaurateur’s favourite pastime.

On this last visit to the city I visited the flea market at Vanves just a short walk from the hotel. What a find. Smaller and more friendly than the famous one at rue Clignancourt, there were many treasures to be had at bargain prices especially if you were prepared to barter. Bitten by the market bug I made the short journey by metro to Avenue President Wilson in the 16th arrondissement an absolute must on a Saturday morning. Brilliant colourful displays of fresh fruit and vegetables, cooked chickens, escargot, olives, cheeses, breads, if you can eat it you will find it here. Buy something you fancy for a late lunch and head off to the Jardins de Tuileries, sit on a bench, gaze at the Eiffel Tower and eat as you watch the Parisians promenade as only they can. Bon Appetit!

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